- 1 Basic Strategies
- 2 The Basics and a Note on Game Mechanics
- 3 Strategic Tactics: Killing or Maiming
- 4 Choosing Between Attacking Armor or Strength
- 5 Information Collection and Movement Range
- 6 Leveling A Character
- 7 Pre-Battle Unit Placement, Position and Order
- 8 Special Thanks
Having problems with the Dredge, or are you simply looking to win more fights with greater ease? Look no further, as this guide will help you to dominate and obliterate your foes.
The Basics and a Note on Game Mechanics
Obviously you're most likely aware that The Banner Saga is a turn-based strategy game, which bears a lot of similarity to chess. If you've played Civilization, Disgaea 1 / 2, or Final Fantasy Tactics, then you've got some background in turn-based strategy and a head start on your opponents.
A typical battle will involve 2 teams with your team being 6 units. The opposing team, typically the Dredge although sometimes you'll fight the Varl or other Humans, will more often have a few extra units. Each team will alternate turns as they take action: moving, attacking and or using their abilities, etc..
Combat takes place on a board, with square tiles, similar again to a chess board. Units have a specific number of tiles/squares they can move across each turn. Each unit is assigned a turn on the "initiative bar," in the bottom left of the screen. This will be the order in which units will take turns. Before you go to battle, you will have to set the order in which your units take action by entering the Heroes area and adjusting it as you wish. This turn order cannot be changed during battle.
Melee units such as the Warrior can only attack adjacent units. Ranged units have a number of squares they can attack from: Archers in this case, have a range of 5 squares, however they cannot attack units adjacent to them. Spearmen are the other exception in that they have an attack range of 2 squares.
Opponents will take turns when taking action with their units. Unlike in other turn based strategies, killing an enemy unit forfeits that side's turn, in The Banner Saga however, players continue to alternate turns even if one side has fewer units. Which means that remaining units get more turns as your or your enemy's team dwindles.
Strategic Tactics: Killing or Maiming
By targeting your opponent's larger and more powerful units and taking them out sooner, you put yourself in a tactical winning position, since their weaker units will continue to have to use their turns to attack you, which is most likely a waste for them. Better yet, targeting units like slingers which move when attacked with Impale causes great harm, and sometimes forces them to kill themselves before being able to move to attack back.
You are given the choice to either KILL or MAIM the enemy unit. Consider first as if you kill an otherwise harmless unit, you "speed up" the remaining units of your opponent. You also might open yourself to being attacked, if the unit you killed was preventing something stronger from reaching you. Use careful judgement in deciding to finish off a Defender who takes up four spaces, potentially blocking additional units from reaching you.
If you outnumber your opponent, if he has 2 or 3 strong units left, he’ll wreak havoc on your team, especially if you have more but weakened units.
Choosing Between Attacking Armor or Strength
Units have two different statistics which serve as health. The first is strength, the other is armor; a shield which protects your strength. Strength is not only your unit's health, but also their attack power. As a unit takes more damage to their Strength, their attack also decreases.
Typically you'll first want to reduce armor on an enemy unit before beginning to attack their Strength. There are exceptions, since when using units with a very high level strength, ( like Warhawk ), it's a good idea to attack an enemy directly, especially if you are able to reduce that enemy's Strength to half or less. However, if a unit's armor is quite high, it's probably a good idea to invest in making that enemy more vulnerable by breaking armor. After you'll broken it down a bit you'll be more effective, and can attack at Strength.
Information Collection and Movement Range
It's important to know that you can see how far your opponent can move when playing. Be sure to click on your enemy's units so you can see where he can reach and if he can reach you. This is very useful for knowing where to position your units while moving them. Yellow squares indicate move range extended by willpower.
Beyond knowing how your opponent can move and planning accordingly, you can also see which stats each opposing unit is strong in. This is very useful and can help you decide what unit you may need to kill or what you can leave alone for now.
Leveling A Character
- Strength serves as both your units health and attack power. As a unit is injured or gets closer to death, the potency of its attack also diminishes. The unit falls unconscious when this stat reaches 0. In a fight, try to keep this high as long as possible, or you won't be able to hurt your enemy.
- Armor serves as a defense rating for the unit and also a secondary kind of health which protects the unit's Strength. When a unit is attacked by an enemy, the Strength damage to the receiving unit's is calculated as (Strength of attacker - targeted unit's Armor = damage to target unit's Strength). Armor can also be attacked directly and reduced, making a unit more vulnerable to Strength attacks. When armor is higher than the attacking unit's Strength, the attacking unit suffers a 10% miss chance for every point Armor is higher than Strength.
- Break serves as the amount of damage a unit can do when attacking the armor of an enemy. It reduces the enemy's armor according to said amount. Unlike strength however, the potency of break remains constant all throughout a battle.
- Willpower is used for special abilities and to boost an attack or movement in combination with Exertion.
- Exertion dictates how much willpower a unit can use to boost its attack or move. With 2 exertion and 2 willpower a unit can move 2 extra tiles or do 2 more damage. Another option would be to move 1 extra tile and do 1 extra damage. You are not restricted to using willpower for only one action per turn, provided you have the available Exertion, since you can only boost each action for as much willpower you have left and what your exertion allows.
What Role Will The Character Play
You are currently able to customize your units up to Level 5, and based on the status descriptions above, here are a few useful tips:
When distributing points, try to figure out the unit's role on the battlefield.
- If you want a high armor breaking unit, you'll put points into break.
- If you want a finisher once the armor on an enemy is reduced, you'll put more points into strength.
- If you want to be really mobile and use abilities, you'll want willpower and exertion.
Additional Helpful Leveling Tips
- Have several units with more than a single Armor Break. Once the enemy begins to wear you Strength down, you'll need to capitalize and clear the enemy's armor to have any hope of finishing them off.
- Plan a unit to have as many uses as possible, for as long as possible. With a balanced stat build distribution and having Strength and Armor higher rather than lower, makes it easier for you to play, because your stuff lasts longer and can hit harder. In addition, if at any point that team member can no longer fulfill its primary intended role, at least it can still contribute to the team effort.
Pre-Battle Unit Placement, Position and Order
Location, Location, Location! Positioning your units is an important consideration and there's a few things you want to avoid prior to the battle starting:
- Avoid placing vulnerable units in the front row. Generally, towards the back is the safest location to position the unit, while sometimes placing towards the middle is neutral.
- Remember about alternating turns. If you leave a unit at the end of the order queue in the front row of the deployment area, chances are that your enemy if positioned aggressively can hit that unit before you have the chance to move it.
- Unit order plays a role in the opening of the match. On the first cycle the unit at the end of the queue can be the most vulnerable because it is last to act and can be quickly knocked out if positioned badly. On the flip side, make use of an opportunity to attack/take out a weakened unit, because it goes after the rest of your team.
- When queuing your team, try to imagine each role and the sequence you intend. You may have a chance to set up a chain where the first unit will weaken, the next will support and block, and the third will finish. Try to locate these units closer to one another, and to sequence their turns in the order this plays out.
Thanks to [Raven2134] with his invaluable experience and guide to help put these strategies together.